Weekly Rundown

All about Ketchikan, Volume 3.

Alaska, like much of the Country, has pretty much shut down. Bars, restaurants, the company I was working for. However, I’m fortunate to have a number of trails to explore within walking distance.

Rainbird Trail: Scenic views and a hilly wooded path, this two-and-a-half-mile walk provides a look at the Tongass Narrows and Gravina and Pennock Islands. While moving through the forest, there is a selection of spruce, cedar, hemlock, and pine trees to observe in their tree-fulness.

Rainbird View
View from Rainbird Trail overlook spot

Deer Mountain Trail: A significantly more strenuous hike than Rainbird, and currently covered in snow at an elevation of about one mile from the base, it only went part of the way up. Deer Mountain is described as “Ketchikan’s iconic and idyllic backdrop.

Deer Mountain in cloudy weather
A view up from the base of Deer Mountain
Deer Mountain Clearing
Snowy pass up the Deer Mountain Trail

Several other locations are within driving distance (only some 30 miles of highway move up the Western coast of Revilla Island), and these include Carlanna Lake Trail, Ward Lake and Perseverance Lake Trail, and the Coast Guard Beach Trail.

I only briefly headed down to Ward Lake, but anticipate further hiking over the weekend. The weather has turned sunny, while still hovering between thirty and forty degrees Fahrenheit.

Weekly Rundown

All about Ketchikan, Volume Two.

The history of Ketchikan is closely tied to fishing. As I mentioned last week, the Kadjuck Tlingits made summer fishing camps along the coast of this island at the Tongass Narrows. But it was in 1883 that a salmon saltery (fish packaging operation) was established. This saltery, started by Mike Martin, was the first such business in place.

In 1885, Loring cannery opened its doors; in 1887, the Tongass Packing Company built its cannery; other immigrants began to open businesses, and in 1900, on August the 25th, the City of Ketchikan was incorporated with a population of 459 residents.

Southeast Alaska is one of the great breeding grounds for all species of the Pacific Salmon. There are about 1,100 islands that make up the Alexander Archipelago, which themselves have steep inland ranges and streams (aided by the about 150 inches of rainfall each year). All these factors contribute to the returning salmon runs, some with upwards of one million fish!

During the mid-to-late summer, salmon can be seen running over the falls and fish ladder at Creek Street, right through Downtown Ketchikan.

Creek Street

Weekly Rundown

All about Ketchikan, Volume One.

Well, Covid seems to be playing havoc with my work schedule. I might as well post some information that you might find interesting.

The City of Ketchikan, AK sits on Revillagigedo Island, which is about 89 km (50 mi) long from north to south and 48 km (35 mi) wide from east to west, making it the 12th largest island in the United States and the 167th largest island in the world.

The island is separated from the Alaska mainland to the east by Behm Canal, from Prince of Wales Island to the west by the Clarence Strait, and from Annette Island to the south by Revillagigedo Channel and Nichols Passage.¹

There are two cities on the Island, Ketchikan and Saxman. The name Ketchikan was chosen as the creek which flows through town is Ketchikan Creek. It was named for Kitsch, a Tlingit native who claimed the section of creek for fishing. Kitsch-hen was anglicized to Ketchikan, as the Tlingit didn’t have a formal written language. Hen translates to creek, and Kitsch to “the thundering wings of an eagle”.² Aptly, bald eagles fly and nest along the coast up and down the Southwestern shore.

The other city, Saxman, is famous for its totem poles. It has the largest collection of standing poles in the world, which is impressive as the Saxman is only one square mile.³ Many of Saxman’s totems were apparently stolen in the late 1800s during the Harriman Expedition, which I’m currently researching.

Chief Kashakes House in Saxman
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revillagigedo_Island
  2. http://www.firstalaskacruise.com/ketchikan-historical-highlights.html
  3. https://alaskatrekker.com/places-go/saxman-alaska/